Ivanhoe achieves record copper production at Kamoa-Kakula

The Kamoa-Kakula copper complex

The Kamoa-Kakula copper complex

5th June 2023

By: Darren Parker

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online


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Copper miner Ivanhoe Mines' Kamoa-Kakula copper complex, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has achieved a monthly production record of 35 856 t of copper concentrate during May. 

Copper production during April was 34 826 t of copper concentrate, bringing quarter-to-date production to 70 682 t. 

A new daily milling record of 29 366 t of ore was also achieved by the Phase 1 and 2 concentrators. This is equivalent to a yearly milling rate of 9.8-million tonnes a year, after accounting for availability.  

These figures exceed the increased milling capacity of 9.2-million tonnes a year achieved following the debottlenecking programme of the Phase 1 and 2 concentrators, which was completed in February. 

Ivanhoe reported on June 5 that the average copper recoveries for the month were sitting at 87%, above the Phase 1 and 2 concentrator nameplate recovery rates. 

The company also noted that construction activities for the Phase 3 expansion, including the largest copper smelter in Africa, with a capacity of 500 000 t of more than 99%-pure copper anodes, were advancing on schedule for first production in the fourth quarter of next year. 

The concrete foundations for the two ball mills of the Phase 3 concentrator have been completed, along with foundations for the flotation cells. The first batch of ball mill foundation steel is expected to be delivered to site later this month. The first ball mill, supplied by Chinese company CITIC Heavy Industries, is also expected to be delivered later in June. 

In addition, the concrete foundations for the Phase 3 concentrator tailings thickener are also well under way. More than 60% of concrete has been poured to date and about 6 000 t of the required 7 100 t of structural steel has been fabricated, 50% of which has been shipped to site. 

Meanwhile, the steel erection of Kamoa-Kakula's direct-to-blister flash furnace and the electric slag cleaning furnace is progressing. Overall smelter construction is now about 50% complete.  

Fabrication of the anode furnaces, ball mill and semi-autogenous grinding mill, also manufactured by CITIC, is complete, with shipping expected imminently. 

Construction of new on-site accommodation is nearly complete as well. There are about 14 000 employees and contractors on site. About 97% of the project's employees are Congolese nationals. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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